Organizations want high-performing employees. They talk about it all the time. Managers will say that they want employees who “perform at a high level.” Senior leaders will say the key to the company’s success is being a “high-performing organization.” But what exactly does that mean?
It’s important to note that, when we talk about high performance, employees don’t just fall into two categories: high performers and non-performers. There are employees who perform satisfactorily. And that’s acceptable. But it’s not high performance. Think of it as the difference between good and great.
High performance is different. And managers need to be able to identify high-performing employees and manage them so they continue to be high performers.
Here are four qualities found in high-performing employees and tips for managing these qualities so you maximize them:
1. High performers accomplish their goals and seek out additional assignments.
Many employees accomplish their goals. But high performers do more than that. They accomplish their goals and say, “What’s next?”
Manage goal driven employees by giving them stretch assignments. High performers not only want to accomplish more goals but they'll seek out opportunities to push their skills and learn new ones. So work on developing your high-performing employees through the goals you assign them.
2. High performers take the initiative to increase their skills.
While most employees are open to training and development, high performers don’t wait for their manager to sign them up for a training session. In fact, they might be the employees who are willing to invest their own time and money toward professional development.
Managers with high performers will want to have a few extra budget dollars to reward high performers with professional development opportunities. Developing your high-performing employees just makes sense. Also, to make sure that resources are being directed properly, make sure high performers are truly justifying their participation by sharing their knowledge with the rest of the team.
3. High performers seek feedback to improve their performance.
Again, most employees are open to feedback. But often the difference is how an individual reacts to the conversation. High performers intentionally seek feedback for self-awareness and self-improvement.
Managers should be giving feedback to all employees on a regular basis. It’s just the right thing to do. With high performers, keep in mind the goal – to maintain high performance – and frame those conversations accordingly.
4. Lastly, high performers have a relentless drive for quality.
If you ask employees, they would tell you they do quality work. Very few employees brag about how they are just “phoning it in.” High performers have a focus on quality that, to others, could border on relentless (or annoying, depending upon your point-of-view.)
Managers will want to find a way to harness this endless pursuit of perfection for good within the organization. It might be possible to allow high-performing employees to work on company project teams or task forces as a way to improve quality.
The importance of identifying and retaining high performers
Every organization wants high-performing employees. And not all employees have to fall into the “high-performing” category for the organization to be successful. But one thing is certain, you need to be identifying and developing high-performing employees, and managing them effectively to encourage their high performance. Otherwise, the company runs the risk of these employees becoming disengaged and bored. That's a sure fire way to lose those high-performing employees.